When the Democrats undertook their current impeachment jag — to be distinguished in temporal terms from the Russia hoax — they accused President Trump of betraying his oath of office and undermining national security. For some reason, they omitted violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, but it’s not over yet.
Then they made a smooth transition to quid pro quo. I am a former high school Latin teacher and therefore particularly appreciated this version of the Democrats’ indictment of Trump. As Vergil has his epic hero put it in the Aeneid, Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit. You can look it up.
Their unity on this point was beautiful to behold. How frequently did we hear the expression in bygone days? Those not paying close attention might have been persuaded that they deeply believed it.
Quid pro quo, however, is now ancient history, if it is history at all. It may have been deposited down the memory hole. Nancy Pelosi explained over the weekend, “I was translating from the Latin.” Ut iocularis.
What happened? The Democrats ran their deeply held belief by a focus group. Now Trump is to be impeached for bribery and extortion, high crimes drawn from Article II of the Constitution.
Whatever happened to treason? That should work too. It goes back to the theme of betrayal of national security, which is where we came in. David Catron usefully summarizes the story in the American Spectator column “Impeachment by focus group.” Subhead: “The Democrats try to get traction by dumbing down the narrative.”
The story here actually derives from reporting by the Washington Post, which is linked in Alex Pappas’s FOX News story.” Leah Barkoukis also links to the Washington Post story in her Townhall column. Barkoukis quotes Pelosi’s explication of the Democrats’ strategery: “Talking Latin around here: E pluribus unum — from many, one. Quid pro quo — bribery.” See? “And that is in the Constitution, attached to the impeachment proceedings.” (Video clips of Pelosi in her teaching mode are posted here.)
Adam Schiff has also been floating “obstruction of Congress” as an impeachable offense. I don’t think they have focus-grouped that one. Obstruction of Congress might sound like a good idea to many voters. I think the Democrats would find that “obstruction of justice” will poll better.